On Monday (May 8) Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) signed 11 clean energy bills into law, supporting the growth of solar power, energy storage and clean energy. The new laws enjoyed bipartisan support and also will improve energy efficiency in the state.
“I am honored to sign these bills into law, furthering the great work we’re doing to support and promote the clean energy sector across the Commonwealth,” McAuliffe said at the bill signing ceremony. “It is clear that Virginia is moving in the right direction, especially with the recent announcement of record growth in our solar industry, but there is still work to do. Together, with our partners in the General Assembly and the private sector, I will continue to implement policies that bolster the entire clean energy industry in the Commonwealth.”
McAuliffe signed SB 1395 into law, which allows for renewable energy projects up to 125 megawatts to qualify through the state’s Permit by Rule (PBR) Previously such projects were limited to 100 megawatts in in size. The law also exempts those projects being built for use by a single utility customer from requiring a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity.
Another bill, SB 1393, creates a pilot for community solar programs for Appalachian Power Company (ApCo), Dominion, and the Electric Cooperatives. Under the new law each utility will create a community solar program allowing their customers to subscribe to a community solar project.
The new laws also increase support for energy storage in the state. State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D) of Alexandria introduced SB 1258. That new law adds the promotion and development of battery storage technology to the Virginia Solar Energy Development Authority’s mission and increases the size of the authority by four seats. “Energy storage is essential for a clean and sustainable energy future,” Ebbin said. “The inventor who perfects the technology to store the power of the sun and the wind will be our next Bill Gates, and deservedly so.”
The laws also included legislation introduced by Republicans in the state. “I was the chief patron for HB 1712, an administration bill that will allow local governments, school boards, and state agencies to save taxpayer dollars and reduce their energy consumption,” explained Delegate Randy Minchew (R) of Leesburg. He was also lead sponsor of HB 2303. “A bill that was the product of a year-long mediation effort between investor-owned utilities, electrical cooperatives, farmers and rural business operators, and renewable energy stakeholders and that will allow agricultural landowners to ‘farm the sun,’ become energy independent, and help increase renewable energy production throughout our Commonwealth,” he said.Tweet